September 28, 2014

Weekend Miscellany

O Magnum Mysterium:" The Persistence of Sacred Beauty

After many years of ignorant acceptance of one gruesome and ugly step downward in art after another that I witnessed when I wandered around in New York's overheated and overhyped art scene, I came to the reluctant conclusion that most contemporary art was garbage, that it had no soul, and that deep down… it was shallow….

For at the core of all the objects that form the mountain of crap that is palmed off as "art," there is simply and plainly, nothing at all. Nothing felt, nothing sensed, nothing learned, and nothing believed in. As such it is without soul. And nothing that lacks soul can survive death, especially the death of a culture and our present state …

Which is why it is so reviving to come across Lauridsen's citing of the magic and mystery of a painting that inspires music from his soul across more than three and a half centuries. It reminds us that art that is true, that art that comes from belief and the soul, will survive and will continue to expand the soul of man despite all the forces that may array themselves against "the good, the beautiful and whether or not something is true."
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In discussing the origin of his chorale composition, "O Magnum Mysterium," in the early 1990s, Lauridsen cites as his primary inspiration a painting done in 1633, more than three and a half centuries before The painting is Francisco de Zurbarán's "Still Life With Lemons, Oranges and a Rose."

 Francisco De Zurbarán - Still-Life With Lemons, Oranges And Rose - Wga26062

Listen to the beauty of Lauridsen's "O Magnum Mysterium," here.

Art of Manliness Love Is All You Need: Insights from the Longest Longitudinal Study on Men Ever Conducted

In Reason, David Harsanyi contemplates  The Countercultural Appeal of 19 Kids and Counting

Considering what we see on TV, it's basically transgressive. A place where homeschooling is treated as a reasonable way to educate your children, where kids talk about "honoring" their parents rather than demanding things from them, and where older kids start successful small businesses without a traditional college education.
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19 Kids and Counting is basically the most earnest show I've ever watched. And while almost any mainstream show I grew up watching saw social conservatives through a political prism—irrational and hopeless—the Duggars' charitable spirit allows people to see the manifestation of religious ideals in real-time. Or so this apostate imagines. In any event, it's almost impossible to not be charmed.
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By any measure, their lives should rub my secular sensibilities the wrong way, and the austerity of their beliefs are still somewhat off-putting. But whether you believe the family's lifestyle is optimal or not—and I don't—you can learn from them. What will most impress any parent is the boundless patience Jim Bob and Michelle have towards their many children. They handle situations with calmness and purpose, focusing on preparing capable adults, but also good people. Which all sounds terribly boring, but it's not. I never imagined that I would ever find myself asking the question "What would Jim Bob do?" … But, well, there it is.

Now, I certainly don't want to be a Duggar, but I have to confess that I want to be more like a Duggar than I am right now. Or maybe I just need a break from all the cynicism. So what?

Why Germans pay cash for almost everything

But the real point isn’t that Germans love cash. It’s that—for the same historical reasons—they loathe debt. (Armchair anthropologists have also long noted that German word for debt—Schulden—comes from the word for guilt, Schuld.
Posted by Jill Fallon at September 28, 2014 3:34 PM | Permalink